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The Weekly Buzz — Episode 2

by Ward Carroll on February 21, 2009

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Welcome to the 2nd edition of The Weekly Buzz.

In this episode, DoD Buzz Editor Colin Clark and contributor Greg Grant talk about breaking news on Pentagon acquisition chief John Young’s replacement, the JLTV protest denial, turning Marines into SOF-like units, the satellite intel gap and what a surge could do for Afghanistan.

DoD Acquisition chief:

  • Ashton Carter could face Senate opposition — he’s smarter about nukes than the overall acquisition. community.
  • Sources say he’s a no go, but Obama sources say they’re sticking with him…for now.

JLTV:

  • Pentagon is relieved that GAO overturned — upholding would have crippled all acquisition programs.
  • Still won’t stop the tide of protests — will becoming automatic for most big programs since companies will be looking for any piece they can get of a dwindling acquisition pie.

USMC SOF-like org:

  • Gen. James Mattis, head of JFCOM, is pushing for new organization of some Marine units to get off FOBs and push smaller teams into the bush — thinks it’s a better way to fight “irregular” wars.
  • It’s not about high-priced whistles and bells — it’s about training, organization and manpower structure.
  • Admits that could lead to more Wanat scenarios but depends on support from air and other “cover.”

Sat/Intel gap:

  • Dennis Blair convened a panel of 10-pound brains to individually examine gaps and suggest solutions — each will report to Blair individually.
  • Had a 14-hour meeting to scrub all programs and current systems.
  • Debate between small, cheap satellites — exposes priority conflict between Pentagon which wants intel to ground units and CIA/Intel community that wants the highest resolution intel for the president.

Afghanistan push:

  • Unclear how much will help — surprised it took so long. Could you imagine if Casey or Abizaid had asked for more troops in Iraq and it had taken this long to send them?
  • Stryker units will help guard routes and pound southern insurgents.
  • Aviation brigade most sought after — SOF has been saying “don’t send more men, send more helos.”

Please listen to the entire episode to hear more details and to find out what’s coming up next week.

– Christian

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